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Cosmo Jarvis, the American-born British actor and musician (he grew up in Devon), stars in the new Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion - his biggest role to date.
Jarvis's career has been split making music (he's released 6 albums so far) and acting. In 2012 he made a film with his brother called 'The Naughty Room' which kick started his acting career. "I didn’t really know how one got into acting properly, because I was never connected," he told The Guardian. “I thought, I might as well just start knocking.”
The film landed him an agent and from there he gained a handful of bit parts, then in 2016, he starred in Lady Macbeth opposite Florence Pugh. The film was his first major role and lead to comparisons of a young Marlon Brando due to his intensity on and off the screen. Since then he has earned award nominations and critical acclaim for his portrayal of often broken or troubled characters.
Jarvis has been busy this year filming TV miniseries Shogun, an adaptation of the 1975 novel of the same name by James Clavell, set in 17th century feudal Japan. Older readers may remember the series from the 1980s starring Richard Chamberlain. Jarvis reprises the role of John Blackthorn, a British sailor shipwrecked in Japan. There's no release date yet but while we wait for more Jarvis, here’s a look at his best roles so far.
1. Persuasion - Captain Frederick Wentworth (2022)
Cosmo Jarvis plays Captain Frederick Wentworth, love interest of Dakota Johnson’s Anne Elliot. The production is a whimsical, witty retelling of the Jane Austen novel which owes much to Armando Iannucci’s contemporary tone in 'The Personal History of David Copperfield' and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, with wry looks to camera and mishaps aplenty. Dashing Captain Wentworth, having been spurned by Anne Elliot due to her family’s disapproval of the match, goes away to seek his fortune and comes back a wealthy young man. Looking to rekindle the romance Captain Wentworth finds himself competing for Anne Elliot's affection. Jarvis described his character in an interview with Squarmile.com as “a hopelessly and almost resentfully, besotted mariner and gentleman.”
Stream Persuasion on Netflix from July 15
2. Peaky Blinders - Barney Thompson (2019)
Jarvis played troubled Barney Thompson in the 5th season of Peaky Blinders. An excellent marksman, former WWI comrade and friend of Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy), who was admitted to a mental asylum with severe shell-shock. Seeking the expertise of his old friend, Shelby gets the Peaky Blinders to break Barney out of hospital and is tasked with assassinating Shelby’s political rival Oswald Mosely. However, things go wrong when he is killed seconds before taking the shot. According to The Express, the show's creator Steven knight regretted the descision to get rid of Barney/Jarvis: “I really wish I’d kept him alive now because he’s such a good actor.”
Stream Peaky Blinders seasons 1-6 on BBC iPlayer.
3. Raised by Wolves - Campion Sturges (2022)
Raised by Wolves is a sci-fi TV series produced by Ridley Scott about 2 androids tasked with raising human children on an uninhabited Planet after the World is destroyed by a religious war. Jarvis played Campion Sturges, a defector to atheism and the creator of the androids, ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’. He obtained a space craft and programmed the androids to bring up the children as pacifists and to start a new atheist colony. The series was recently cancelled after 2 seasons, so we will never know the true fate of Campion.
Stream Raised by Wolves on Sky Atlantic with NOW.
4. Calm with Horses - Arm (2019)
Set in rural Ireland and based on a short story, Jarvis plays Arm, an ex-boxer who now works as an enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family. Unhappy with his life of violence and crime, Arm is torn between his work and his austistic 5-year-old son. His powerful performance earned him a British Independent Film Award nomination for best actor in 2020 and The Sun described his performance as "utterly mesmerising and this role will be looked back on as pivotal for his career".
Watch Calm with Horses on BritBox
5. Lady Macbeth - Sebastian (2016)
Set in the north of England in 1865, Florence Pugh plays Katherine, a woman who is trapped in a stifling and abusive marriage. Living on her father-in-law’s oppressive estate she is unable to leave the house. One day when her husband and father-in-law are away she meets Sebastian (Jarvis) a labourer on the estate and begins an affair with him. Driven by intense desire, Katherine resorts to desperate measures to continue her relationship with Sebastian. His brillant performance was nominated for a British Independent Film award for Most Promising Newcomer.
Stream Lady Macbeth on the BT Player.
6. The Naughty Room - Todd (2012)
The Naughty Room is Jarvis’s first feature, which he wrote, cast, directed, shot, edited and scored, alongside his brother, all on a budget of only £8,000. The film is a black comedy about 20-year-old stoner Subaru (David Egan) who has no prospects and lives at home with his mother. Things change when he befriends his imprisoned neighbour Todd, played by Jarvis. Todd is trapped living in the family bathroom by his abusive mother who blames him for his father's death. Time out described the film as “a beautifully judged balance of foul-mouthed whimsy and genuine tragedy”. You can watch the whole film on Jarvis's YouTube channel, along with many of his music videos.